• Is Co-Sleeping Unavoidable? Follow These Dos and Dont's from the Experts

    It's important to set some guidelines for the safety of your own child.
    by Kitty Elicay .
  • Is Co-Sleeping Unavoidable? Follow These Dos and Dont's from the Experts
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  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that newborns co-sleep with their parents (as in, sleep in the same room) for at least six months to a year, but according to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, babies may get more quality sleep if they doze off in their own room. The study’s findings showed that tots who move to their own rooms earlier get more sleep than those who still sleep with their parents.

    But in the Philippine setting, you’ll find more families preferring to co-sleep even when their kids are old enough to sleep on their own. Culturally, that’s acceptable, says Dr. Jamie Isip-Cumpas, a pediatrician and lactation consultant, during her talk at SmartParenting.com.ph’s All About Babies workshop. There are a number of reasons why: it’s convenient, it saves on electricity (say, the family wants to use the aircon at night), it’s easier to breastfeed or resettle a restless baby, and it brings the family closer. “But you also need to discuss with your husband how long you want to co-sleep, especially if you want your own privacy as a couple,” she says.

    Dr. James McKenna, an expert on international mother-infant co-sleeping and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, believes that co-sleeping and bed-sharing can possibly reduce the risk of SIDS. “Mother-infant cosleeping with breastfeeding is humankind’s oldest and most successful sleeping arrangement,” he says.

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    If co-sleeping is unavoidable, here are a few suggestions from Dr. Cumpas, as well as safe co-sleeping guidelines from Dr. McKenna.

    DO

    Discuss with your partner beforehand if you want the baby in the same room. Make sure that both of you are comfortable with this decision.
    • Have babies sleep in their own crib for their own safety. Older kids need their own bed, or at least separate mattresses.
    • Make sure that there’s nothing on the baby’s crib—no pillows, blankets, bumpers or toys. Just the baby in his sleep suit.

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    • Choose a firm mattress with tight-fitting sheets.
    • Make sure that baby sleeps in a quiet, dark, and cool environment.
    • Lay your baby down to sleep on his back.
    • Wake yourself up every few hours to check on your baby.

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    DON’T

    Bedshare with your babies if you’ve recently smoked, drank alcohol or taken a medicine that makes you drowsy as it might hamper your ability to be aware of the baby beside you.
    • Bedshare on a high bed as the baby might fall. The ideal setup is a mattress on the floor in the middle of a room, away from walls, sharp objects or edges, and bed frames.
    • Allow older siblings to sleep with a baby on the same bed. They do not have the same awareness of the baby as parents, especially if they are asleep.
    • Leave the baby alone on your adult bed.

    Whatever sleeping arrangements you choose for your family, it’s best to keep these pointers in mind, not just for you to get quality slumber but also to reduce the risk of endangering your children.

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